Bird Box ~ Netflix

I finally watched Bird Box. I read the book last fall in anticipation of watching the movie when it came out on Netflix, but never got around to it until now. It isn’t terrible, but I really think that due to the nature of the evil in the film, it is really much better in book format then movie. My actual rating is more like 3.5 stars… but I can’t do 1/2 stars.

The brief synopsis of both book & film is that there are some type of entity or monster that causes the person who sees it so much fear that they are driven to kill themselves. However, we never actually see what the person who kills themselves ever sees. It is all left to the imagination. This is a fantastic concept for a novel, however as an adaption into film, I’m on the fence. As much as I wanted to know in the book what the hell people were seeing to cause them to commit suicide, that urge to know what was the cause is even stronger when you watch. And maybe that is the whole point. I was pulled into story that doesn’t rely on all jump scares or gore. And with Sandra Bullock & John Malkovich leading the cast, it is also a well acted film.

Side note that I recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, for several reasons. #1 The book is always better then the film (The Mist is the only exception to this rule.) #2 Josh Malerman is a very talented writer & delivers in my opinion a much more terrifying story. #3 As the medium is visual, you expect to see something. Not actually seeing the evil can be terrifying in a film (Signs is a fantastic example). However, I don’t think the movie captured the fear as much has the book did. #4 And of course, the switching of character roles or elimination/addition of characters can make the film entirely different.

Scream ~ Netflix

It’s been at least 5 or 6 years since I last watched Scream. I think I have watched it at least 15 times, if not more, since it was released and it is still as good as I remember. Scream is the classic horror slasher film of the 90s. With over 475k audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a solid 79% score. If you’re not familiar, Scream is a Wes Craven film. Wes Craven is a horror legend, responsible for some of the best horror films, including the Nightmare on Elm Street movies.

Scream is kind of a spoof of the whole teen slasher movie horror genre, but is still its own scary movie. The movie takes place in the town of Woodsboro where a psycho killer, aka Ghost Face, stalks & taunts his victims before brutally murdering them. Although a classic slasher flick, Scream isn’t all that gory & leaves the brutality to your imagination. Scream offers an excellent cast & is one of the best campy horror movies ever…and has some of the best sequels to a film.

The Witch ~ Netflix

So I was not a fan of this movie. I have yet to find a witch film that is scary and hoped this one would be the one. Sadly, this was not the case & I was very underwhelmed, despite the rave reviews I’ve read. I appreciate slow burn type films that build up to the scarier moments, and leave you with an unsettled feeling, rather then relying on jump scares, but this just didn’t do that at all.

The film begins with a family ousted from their plantation, so they build their homestead on the edge of the forest. Pretty soon, strange & unsettling things begin to happen to the family & around their home. The eldest daughter, Thomasin, is babysitting her newborn brother when he is suddenly taken by some type of creature off into the woods. As the strange (not scary) things are happening, the parents accuse Thomasin of being a witch. But the whole movie I felt I was just trying to understand what the hell they were talking or arguing about half the time & just waiting for something to happen.

I’m not suggesting to not watch this movie. You may enjoy it. I’m just warning you that it is 90+ minutes of your life you won’t get back if you thought it was as bad as I did. The critics loved it with a 90% on the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score was a dismal 58%. And that it much more accurate.

A bonus review I found on Rotten Tomatoes that I found hilarious as this guy really hated this movie & I just have to share it as it. Although I didn’t hate it as much as he clearly does. You will find a lot of reviews like this one too. I wished I had read more of the bad ones then the good. I might not have wasted my time on this movie.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil ~ Netflix

I know this isn’t really a horror movie, but it kind of is. It has been on my to-watch list forever. It is a gory horror comedy that twists the stereotypical backwoods hillbilly serial killer slasher flick around. It is funny & it is entertaining & it gets quite gory. So if you aren’t a fan of things like a weed-whacker to the face, this probably won’t be the movie for you.

Dale & Tucker are two everyday kind of guys minding their own business & heading up to their new “vacation” home to drink beer, fix up the place a bit & go fishing. While on their way, they encounter a group of college kids at the local party store, which sets off a series of misadventures. These misadventures basically make the college kids think that Dale & Tucker are murderous hillbillies trying to murder them. But they’re not & it is all one big misunderstanding with lots of bodies.

It isn’t a great movie. It isn’t scary, but it is entertaining as hell. And I’m glad I finally got it off my to-watch list.

Gerald’s Game ~ Netflix

I will admit that I was very skeptical going into this movie for two reasons. First, because of the story itself. And second, Stephen King adaptions can be hit or miss….and I’ve seen a lot of misses. I recently read Gerald’s Game as I have been reading through King’s works in order & the story is quite intense. As a lot of the story is hallucinations, thoughts & memories inside the main character’s head. But I was pleasantly surprised by this adaptation.

The movie begins with Jess & her husband Gerald heading to their vacation home for a weekend away. From the beginning we learn their marriage is kind of on the rocks & this weekend retreat is meant to hopefully “spice” up their marriage & bring them closer together. Of course, Gerald’s idea of spice things up & Jess’s are totally different.

Pretty soon into the film, Jess is left handcuffed to their bed. These handcuffs aren’t the toy kind with the easy release, but straight up police issued shackles with keys. Which are conveniently left on the bathroom counter across the room. Then Gerald has a heart attack & dies in the middle of all this.

After Gerald dies, the film revolves around Jessie & her break from reality while being handcuffed, traumatized, dehydrated & starved for a couple days. I was nervous as to how this would be done & in all honestly, how close it would follow the novel as it is pretty graphic. It is a fairly close adaption of the novel & the King universe easter egg connections are included.

Jessie is played by Carla Gugino and does an amazing job being inside of her own head. We get a glimpse of how she views Gerald & how she thinks Gerald views her. Gerald is played by Bruce Greenwood, and is a great supporting role considering he is dead within the first 15 minutes. We also see how Jessie view herself as well as she tries desperately to get out of the situation she is in.

I will not sugar coat anything, this movie will make you very, very uncomfortable. It is very graphic, not only with what Jessie endures in present day, but how her mind retreats to relive previous trauma. And whether or not what she is seeing is real or hallucinations. This is is one of the better Stephen King adaptions I have seen. Flanagan stays true to the novel, & embraces the graphic nature of the novel.

You do not have to be a King fan to watch this film. I find this one of King’s more terrifying storied as the horror is not supernatural, but a totally normal situation anyone could find themselves in. It may not be handcuffs, but anything that causes you to be restrained & stuck without help nearby is terrifying enough to me. You can’t reach the phone. Calling for help is no longer an option. Your phone is dead. Or out of reach. These are things that are truly terrifying.